Posted by: Helena Smalman-Smith | December 21, 2011

Day 17: On Salt

Out here, things are pretty salty. H’s taste for salted peanuts has actually come back (her theory is that with less salt in her hair after its wash yesterday, her body can cope with some salted food), but we’re certainly not enjoying salty mouthpieces on bottles, and our excellent WRJC volunteers’ floppy sunhats are now very far from being floppy, having been starched stuff with salt. We rinse salt crystals off the solar panels several times a day, and our towels will never properly dry as salt is deliquescent (has a strong liking for moisture? Land – ed) and as they’ve been endlessly used for drying our wet feet after clambering through the footwell during the rough days, we’re stuck with them being damp for the duration.

So we were contemplating whether there was some way that salt could be redistributed to elsewhere on the planet for our benefit (yes, this is a JOKE and we know that it would have a devastating effect on marine ecology – just bear with us for the purposes of weak humour). So here’s the plan:

Obviously, we don’t want you to endanger your health by demanding extra salt’n’vinegar at the chippie, or downing extra tequilas just to help us out, but if you (especially those of you who have nice cream carpets) could invite your most clumsy friends and neighbours round for drinks and offer them only red wine or fruit punch, you’ll be bound to need to use up all of your household salt removing their spilled drinks from your carpet, and then you’ll have to buy some more for cooking, and then sea salt drying companies will up their production levels and we’ll become a bit less encrusted.

Many thanks for your help with this.

Wildlife bit – H might have seen a sailfish earlier. A half circle, about 10 inches in diameter and vaguely mauve seemed to be proceeding east. Is this possible? It MIGHT have been rubbish, but as the wind and waves were going the other way its movement suggested independent power?

A storm petrel comes by a couple of times a day and circles round the stern, clearly thinking “good grief, a tiger, how often do you see one of those out here?”. Actually, it might be several different storm petrels – none of them are carrying AIS (Avian Identification System), so it’s hard to tell.

Rog – am working on that anagram!

Annabel – lovely to hear from you – your t-shirt design has been SO widely admired (and as per a previous blog, one was bought before the start by a Finnish couple, so they’ve spread far and wide)! Thank you!

Delighted though not surprised to hear from R’s colleague Sheena (who has VERY kindly deferred her retirement for 2 terms to cover for him!) that she has a spreadsheet going which currently predicts our arrival at 8 mins past noon on 20 Feb!

MDH – amazed to discover that crosswords weren’t invented till 1913.

And here’s a great joke from Lydia – “what did one snowman say to the other?” “Can you smell carrots”. I also did push for 10 strokes – could you tell from the tracker? And thanks for yours too Baz. When R picked up Lydia’s he said “your friends do have terrible jokes”. I’m sure he’s just jealous. I’m proud of you all. What do you get if you cross Santa with a flying saucer indeed… Have you got the stamina to do this for as long as it’s going to take us? This isn’t going to be a C2 51 day trip, you know…

Chris M – we may have got faintly confused with your DMG number – were there 2 days at 39 nm or just 1?

Eric – sorry to hear that you had to do a 5k ergo. I’d complain to the captain for setting such a draconian programme, if I were you…

And finally, thanks once again to the KGS boat club parents association – the Sherriff Club who gave us all our sun cream, with pics of various squads on every bottle. We are still looking out for th J14’s to appear from up the course at Peterborough every time we put P20 on!


  1. Hi you guys!
    Great to see that you’re enjoying the race and all that fresh air! Just to let you know that Tanni and I are getting on very well, in fact she’s made her way onto the bed a couple of nights. She loves being stroked and literally she hasn’t lashed out once, just purrs constantly. She likes to scratch her chin on the corner of my laptop and sit on the table in between me and my laptop which does make it hard to write so I have to ignore her after a while so that she gets bored!
    Anyway, I hope the weather doesn’t throw anymore surprises at you and that it’s all going well. Happy (and unusual) Christmas!

  2. Re storm petrels, look out for leg rings (known as bling in the trade) as they tell you where the bird was caught and if there are several, where it has made landfall. Good work, keep it up! jmh

  3. Hi Richard and Helena,
    I’ve just been diagnosed with a horrid disease – a form of OCD I’m told – a result of checking your progress too many times every day! Wow! Less than 2000 nm to go! Glad the weather has calmed down a bit. Will do my best for salt intake – just been to Swing Band concert this evening and stuffed myself with crisps all in a good cause! Just been watching footage from H2row – the waves look horrendous. Do keep safe. Ding dong merrily on high with the Senior Girls has made it on to Youtube!!
    Love from us all,

  4. Perfect excuse, I just ran out of salt at home yesterday so will have to buy some more. It’ll have to be sea salt (rather than rock salt)
    You’re going great.
    Chris M

  5. The last 4 days have had mileages 39,39,38 and 39. Very steady but easy to get confused!

  6. HAPPY CHRISTMAS from everyone at St Mungo’s – we’ll be thinking of you over the next few days and wishing you lots of festive fun. Keep up the amazing work!

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